Mirapex Side Effect Lawsuit
Mirapex Side Effect Lawsuits
Mirapex, a prescription drug manufactured and distributed by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, was approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The drug has also been used to treat the symptoms of restless legs syndrome since 2006 and cluster headache and sexual dysfunction in selective cases. Parkinson’s disease destroys neurons responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our body. Mirapex stimulates dopamine receptors and restores signals that counter signs and symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder. According to studies and post-marketing reviews, the drug causes adverse effects, including sedation, somnolence, body aches and pains, overeating, weight loss, insomnia, twitching, and unusual tiredness or weakness.
The drug causes intense expression of D3 receptors in brain regions controlling mood, behavior, and reward, which results in strong urges. A number of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer, claiming that the plaintiffs suffered from hallucinations, orthostatic hypotension, and compulsive behaviors, such as gambling obsession, excessive shopping, and hypersexuality due to the use ofMirapex. It has also been linked to excessive drowsiness, sudden sleep, clinical depression, restlessness, and fibromyalgia rheumatoid disorders.
According to a research report published in the Archives of Neurology in May 2010, Mirapex can triple the risk that users develop impulse-control problems. The study carried out by the Philadelphia University medical center covering more than 3,000 Parkinson’s patients using dopamine discovered one or more impulse-control problems, such as compulsive gambling, enhanced sexual behaviors, binge eating and shopping sprees, in Mirapex users. A paper presented at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Chicago in June 2009, also linked the drug to impulse-control disorders and behavioral side effects. The report highlighted findings about U.S. and Canadian patients treated for Parkinson’s disease at 46 medical centers.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester also documented compulsive behavior and impulse-control problems in patients they treated with Mirapex therapy between 2002 and 2006. Researchers at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center, a part of the Phoenix-based Barrow Neurological Institute, also noted that compulsive gambling was the most startling side effect of the drug. The report published in the August 2003 issue of the Neurology journal linked the drug to serious gambling addictions. The study monitored about 2,000 Parkinson's patients for more than a year and discovered that most of them using the drug gambled themselves into debt.
In 2005, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals revised label warnings on the drug to include compulsive behavior as one of the potential side effects following a large number of research reports and complaints to the FDA regarding hyper sexuality, gambling, and increased urge for reward in Parkinson's patients receiving Mirapex therapy. In 1999, a research report in the Neurology Journal warned of sleep attacks caused by side effects of the drug. The study conducted by the New York-based Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center listed eight cases involving patients that felt sedated or had sleep attacks after using the drug. A Winnipeg woman arrested for drunk-driving crash in April 2008 held Mirapex responsible for her excessive drinking habits. She took the drug to treat Restless Leg Syndrome and became a compulsive gambler and drinker due to its side effects.
Mirapex Side Effects
Psychiatric Side Effects
Some of the psychiatric side effects of Mirapex include mania, compulsive disorders, abnormal behavior, visual and auditory hallucinations, and restlessness. The drug activates dopamine and D3 receptors in the brain, which, in turn, stimulate one’s urge for rewards. A large number of Parkinson’s patients treated with Mirapex are found to have developed gambling, heavy drinking, binge eating, and hypersexual habits.
Nervous System Disorders
Parkinson’s patients taking Mirapex experience sedation, somnolence, and sudden sleep. In many cases, side effects of the drug have even resulted in accidents. It also leads to excessive dizziness, lightheadedness, body aches, headache, weakness, libido disorders, and fainting. Elder patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease using the drug are more likely to develop serious nervous system side effects, including dyskinesia, confusion, syncope, and extrapyramidal syndrome.
Cardiovascular Side Effects
The post-marketing reviews have highlighted a number of cardiovascular side effects of Mirapex. Orthostatic hypotension is the most documented adverse reaction of the drug caused during the initial treatment. It also causes angina pectoris, atrioventricular block, arrhythmia, congestive cardiac failure bradycardia, atrial fibrillation, left ventricular failure, and myocardial infarction.
Other Side Effects
Mirapex gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, constipation, abdominal discomfort and pain, anorexia, and dry mouth.
Mirapex causes weight gain, skin disorders, urinary tract infection and ocular side effects, such as vision abnormalities and diplopia.
Musculoskeletal side effects of the drug include rhabdomyolysis or rapid degeneration of skeletal muscle tissue and body aches.
Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Pharmacia & Upjohn are facing hundreds of lawsuits for Mirapex and similar drugs throughout the United States. All the cases have been consolidated under the Multidistrict Litigation provision and the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis is the designated court to take up the lawsuits. In 2008, the court awarded Gary Charbonneau, the first Mirapex plaintiff, $8.2 million in compensation. The plaintiff had sought punitive damages from Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim for gambling losses caused by the drug side effects.
In 2010, an Australian resident Nabil Gazal sued Mirapex manufacturers in a Minnesota court for impulse-control disorders due to Mirapex side effects. The plaintiff experienced compulsive gambling problem in 2005 after taking the drug for three years to treat Parkinson’s disease. The case is pending before the appeal court. About 100 Australian patients filed litigations in 2010 seeking compensation from the makers of Mirapex over sex and gambling addictions.
Pfizer and Boehringer are facing two class action lawsuits, one filed in California inSeptember 2004 and the other one filed in the Ontario Superior Court in May 2005. Both lawsuits accuse Mirapex manufacturers of distributing the drug that turned Parkinson’s patients gambling addicts. The Canadian lawsuit seeks $3 million in compensation for each of the 300 plaintiffs. In July 2008, Randolph Simens, an ex-Wall Street banker, filed a lawsuit in the New York State Court seeking compensation from Mirapex makers for losses incurred due to compulsive gambling side effects between 2002 and 2007.